Buzz Button, Tooth Ache Plant, Electric Daisy – Spilanthese Official goes by many names, all of which are closely tied to the plants unique numbing compounds active in the flowers and leaves. As it’s name suggests, Spilanthese has been used for centuries in Africa for use in dental care and novelty consumption for it’s ability to cause topical numbness when chewed. While handling the flowers with ungloved hands does not activate the numbing compounds, chewing them orally quickly reveals the power of this potent little herb. The tongue doesn’t quiet go numb, as the gums do, but takes on an electric feel – almost as if you’ve tasted an electric wall outlet!
Why do we grow these plants – good question! We take great care to both dry the flowers for raw enjoyment in medicinal tea’s and for alcohol extraction. You will see it listed in our favorite pain relieving topicals, like our NW Emergency and our Heritage pain salve, as it acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory when applied to the skin. By in large, Spilanthese is an easy to grow Annual – sprouting from very small seeds in great number. Should you try to grow these magical herbs, remember to thin your sprouts after they’ve developed their second pair of leaves. A single sprout will produce a rather large, 3 foot wide plant, despite its teeny tiny size when its young. For reference, a mature Spilanthese plant has similar plant morphology to another annual, Impatient’s, creating a very pretty ‘dome,’ from a single or double stalk. Spilanthese enjoy a lot of water, evident from its fleshy watery stalks, and does very well in containers. However, this means that cold weather will quickly chill the water within and may stress the plants beyond repair. For extra heavy flower growth, consider feeding your Spilanthese with a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer during the growing season.
You can harvest the yellow flowers buds every week beginning in June up until Mid-September. Take care not to let Spilanthese get too cold, as it’s African heritage begets a real preference for warmth and temperatures above 65 degrees F. When the cool autumn mornings arrive, the first frost, or even a cold snap, your Spilanthese may decide it’s time to turn in and succumb to the natural mold spores which swirl around all of us. We recommend harvesting the whole plant with a field knife during the final warm weeks of September. All parts of the above ground plant contain the active ingredients necassary for extraction, but the flower buds are the most potent.